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A while back R. picked up a vegetarian cookbook called Super Natural Cooking.  We picked this recipe out a while ago, and I think it could be a real go-to meal over the summer.  If you make the asparagus puree (which was very close to an asparagus pesto) ahead of time it would be something you could literally throw together in five minutes, and it’s really good.  I only wish we would have had the pine nuts that the recipe called for!  This could probably also be easily adapted productively.  You could add sausage, or capers,  or even sun dried tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed & chopped into 3-4 inch pieces
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic (recipe called for 2, but who doesn’t love more garlic)
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts (R. and I both agreed the dish would have been significantly better with them).
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (we used about half this much)
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • equal parts egg & spinach linguine (or fettuccine, or your preferred pasta of choice.)  You could also do wheat, I’m sure.

Procedure:

  • Bring two pots of water to a boil, one large (for the pasta) and one medium (to blanch the asparagus).
  • Generously salt each pot.  Don’t be shy!
  • Dump the asparagus into the medium pot and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Then transfer to a food processor (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or a blender (if you’re unlucky like us).  Puree with the spinach, parmesan, and 3/4 of the pine nuts, regularly drizzling it with olive oil.  If it gets too thick and sticky, just use the pasta water to thin it a little.  If it’s too thin, add some extra spinach or asparagus (if you have it).  When it has the consistency of a pesto, add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
  • Cook the two pastas together in well-salted water.  When tender, drain and toss with a portion of the asparagus puree.  Adjust to taste, serve sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts, parmesan, and olive oil.
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